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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Illinois Municipalities Free to Ban Plastic Bags?

On August 27, 2012, Governor Quinn vetoed the plastic bag bill, SB 3442.  That bill would have required manufacturers of plastic bags to register with the state and file a recycling plan.  Under the proposed law, retailers would have been prohibited from purchasing bags from manufacturers who were not registered.  More important to municipalities, the bill would have preempted local restrictions on plastic bags such as local bans or plastic bag fees.  The bill had been opposed by a number of organizations, including the Illinois Municipal League, Northwest Municipal Conference, Sierra Club, and various other groups and public officials. 

While some are touting the veto as opening the door to widespread local restrictions on plastic bags in Illinois, it is important to remember that non-home rule municipalities must still demonstrate adequate statutory authority (either direct or implied) before implementing a ban on plastic bags or imposing a plastic bag fee.  Currently, there is no statute that expressly authorizes municipalities to adopt regulations on the use of plastic bags, so a non-home rule municipality may need to look to multiple sources for authority. 

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink


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